Skoda Enyaq iV prototype review

A prototype drive suggests Skoda’s first dedicated electric car is poised to set the class benchmark for technology, refinement and value

£35,000 - £45,000
Electric

Pros

  • Technology-laden cabin
  • Impressive refinement
  • Spacious interior

Cons

  • Comfortable rather than fun
  • Top-spec cars all-wheel-drive only
  • High-end models likely to be expensive
Car type Electric range Wallbox charge time Rapid charge time
Electric 211-310 miles 6hrs (0-100%, 11kW) 40 mins (0-80%, 125kW)

The VW Group’s push towards an electrified future reaches a new milestone later this year with the introduction of the Skoda Enyaq. It sits on the now-familiar MEB platform, which underpins the Volkswagen ID.3 hatchback, as well as the Volkswagen ID.4 SUV and forthcoming SEAT el-Born hatchback.

Before the recent coronavirus lockdown measures came into force, we got a first taste of the Enyaq on the roads of rural Ireland. If you thought that the UK’s pockmarked roads were a challenge, those of the Emerald Isle raise the bar even higher; if a car works here, there’s likely little it can’t conquer.

The Enyaq is a large electric SUV, similar in shape and size to the brand's diesel Kodiaq. Set to feature a range of battery options, as well as the choice of rear or four-wheel drive, the Enyaq will be revealed in full later this year, before going on sale in 2021, priced from around £35,000. A coupe-SUV version will arrive some time in the future, too.

At launch, the range will kick off with the entry-level iV 50 – a 55kWh battery model with a rear-mounted electric motor providing 146bhp and around 211 miles range. There'll also be a 62kWh version badged iV 60, with 177bhp and the ability to cruise for up to 242 miles.

Both of those models are rear-wheel-drive only, whereas the iV 80 we drove will be offered with a choice of rear or four-wheel drive. The rear-drive version tested here gets the longest range (up to 310 miles) of any Enyaq at launch, while the 80X 4x4 version sacrifices some of that mileage (286 miles) for an additional 61bhp.

The final model in the expansive line-up will be the four-wheel-drive Skoda Enyaq vRS iV. It’ll boast an impressive 302bhp and do 0-62mph in 6.2 seconds, while matching the 80X iV’s 286-mile range.

There’s no official word on pricing yet, although it’s expected an entry-level Enyaq will start from around £35,000. A mid-range model like ours will likely add £5,000 to that figure, while vRS versions could feasibly be the first Skodas to nudge £50,000 with a few option boxes ticked. If that’s the case, the most expensive models wouldn't be eligible for the government’s £3,000 plug-in car grant.

A 10-80% charge is taken care of in 40 minutes using a 125kW rapid charger. Topping up overnight at home will see the batteries replenished to full in six to eight hours, depending on the size of the car’s battery and the capacity of your home wallbox.

It’s expected that Skoda will offer an app for monitoring charging, as well as allowing you to pre-heat or pre-cool the cabin before leaving the house. In fact, technology will be at the forefront of the Enyaq’s appeal, with the interior focused on a glorious 13-inch touchscreen.

The cabin of our test model was covered in cloth and we were prevented from taking any pictures inside. But don’t let that detract from the fact this feels like a typically premium product, with a level of sophistication we’ve not seen from the Czech brand before.

In addition to that gigantic infotainment screen on high-end versions, the Enyaq will also be offered with an augmented-reality heads-up display – taking overlaid navigation instructions in the style of the latest Mercedes A-Class and overlaying them directly in your line of sight. Unfortunately, this technology wasn’t fitted to the cars we had at our disposal.

On the move, the Enyaq takes all the class and composure we’ve come to expect from the latest Skoda models and wraps them up in a smooth and refined all-electric package. There is a decent hit of acceleration when you put your foot down, but the overwhelming sensation is one of complete quiet and calm.

It’ll be interesting to see what Skoda does to turn this two-tonne SUV into something befitting of the vRS badge. These variants, while rarely the sharpest in their class, have long impressed with their breadth of ability; the conventional Enyaq feels solid, although the steering is inert and really rather light.

But as it stands, in rear-wheel-drive iV 80 form, the Enyaq feels composed, brisk and responsive enough for a car of this type. It resists body lean admirably given its size and shape, and even manages to ride well without crashing through the worst lumps and bumps on Ireland’s roads.

It’s spacious and practical, too. We’ve come to appreciate the packaging benefits electric cars can bring due to the fact there’s no combustion engine or transmission tunnel to contend with – and the Enyaq is no different in this regard. While it’s perhaps not quite as big as the Skoda Superb for rear-seat occupants, there’s no shortage of space to stretch out.

The 585-litre boot isn’t as big as the Kodiaq’s (720 litres), although the electric SUV certainly isn’t lacking when it comes to practicality; Skoda claims there’s a total 48 litres of storage dotted around, including a deep central bin between the front seats. We fully expect the Enyaq to carry over its siblings’ myriad Simply Clever features, too, including things like the parking-ticket clip on the windscreen and the ice scraper in the fuel-filler cap.